Long waiting list prompts Red Dog fundraiser run

The waiting list of 100 children for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence’s summer program is too long, executive director Janet Murphy says.

That’s why the second annual fundraiser this Saturday that includes Don “Red Dog” Gardner, the leader of Lawrence’s popular public workout sessions, is important to the club’s before- and after-school services.

“We can always do more. The more money we can raise, the more we can do,” Murphy said.

The four-mile run and two-mile walk for charity will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday on the Kansas River levee in North Lawrence. Participants can register that morning for $17. They also can enter the race early for $15 by calling 841-5672 or going online at www.bgclawrence.com.

The club now offers before- and after-school programs at eight Lawrence schools and its main site, 1520 Haskell Ave. Federal, state and local grants, including money from the United Way of Douglas County, fund about 60 percent of the club’s $900,000 budget.

Alexis Dominguez, 12, right, a junior staff member at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, cleans a daily schedule board at the center, 1520 Haskell Ave. Junior staff members were helping to organize and clean up Monday at the center. The second annual Red Dog Run fundraiser for the club is at 8 a.m. Saturday on the Kansas River levee.

During the school year, about 1,000 children attend at least one school site, Murphy said. The program has grown tremendously in six years and has partnered with the Lawrence school district. The club aims to keep staffing adequate at each site and tries to avoid a waiting list during the year, Murphy said.

Children can attend for $10 per week, but the club provides some sort of scholarship to 65 percent of participants, Murphy said, because it does not want to turn anyone away and wants to provide a safe after-school environment.

If you go

What: 4-mile run or 2-mile walk

When: 8 a.m. Saturday

Where: Kansas River levee in North Lawrence

How: Register in advance for $15 by calling 841-5672 or online at www.bgclawrence.com; register Saturday for $17 at the run. Proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.

Students participate in activities that emphasize character and leadership, health, academic enrichment, recreation, physical activity and cultural arts, Murphy said.

The Red Dog run/walk benefit raised about $20,000 last year, and organizers have received the same amount so far with some donations still to come. Several local businesses have sponsored the race again, and American Family Insurance gave $10,000, said Cathy Theisen, a Boys & Girls Club board member.

More about Red Dog’s Dog Days

“I’d like to see a lot of old Dog Days people come to it. The walk’s easy. It’s a great place to run,” Gardner said.

The Dog Days summer workouts wrap up Friday, and Gardner said Saturday morning’s run would complement that nicely.

Winners in various age groups in Saturday’s race will receive gift certificates to Lawrence restaurants and hotels, Theisen said.